Tech makes blocking news difficult for China

The Internet, mobile phones and other new technologies are making it harder for China's communist rulers to block negative news, a top government official, quoted by an AFP report, said.

The AFP report, citing state-run China Daily, quoted Wang Guoqing, a vice minister with the cabinet's information office, as saying that 'it has been repeatedly proved that information blocking is like walking into a dead end."

The AFP report further quoted Wang as saying that local governments needed to be more transparent, describing some as being 'too naive' in thinking they could hide damaging information.

He cited the recent case of a slavery scandal that emerged in China's Shanxi and Henan provinces as proving that bad news needs to be managed and controlled, rather than covered up, the AFP report said.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people had been forced to work as slaves in brickyards for years, but the governments there refused to acknowledge any problem until relatives of victims posted information about the scandal on the Internet, the report said.

Wang said the central government's commitment to transparency, as well as new information technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones, were making it more difficult for local officials to hide bad news, the report said.

Reporters Without Borders meanwhile describes the Chinese government as an 'enemy of the Internet,' the AFP report further said.

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